How I write posts
What powers this site
- OrionVM, where I work, and everyone’s favourite cloud
- FreeBSD, the world’s greatest operating system
- Hugo, the unreasonably fast static site generator
- Nginx, the fast and simple to configure reverse proxy
- Let’s Encrypt, safe and automated TLS certificates
- Git, for version controlling posts and themes
- Ansible, for orchestration and maintenance
- Perl, for helper scripts and glue
What used to power it
Blogroll and friends
- Allan Jude
- Antranig Vartanian
- Asherah Connor
- Bobulate, by Adriaan de Groot
- Brain Baking, by Wouter Groeneveld
- Brandon Quakkelaar
- Bremen Saki, by Mike
- Bil Herd
- brian d foy
- Brian Krebs
- Briefings Direct, by Dana Gardner
- Bruce Schneier
- Dan Langille’s Other Diary
- Dave Winer
- Doc Searls
- Esther Golton
- The Geekorium
- Halestrom’s Peregrinations
- Hey Georgie
- Hypercritical, by John Siracusa
- James’ Coffee Blog
- Jim Kloss
- Code-Kungfu, by Glenn Dufke
- Jason Tubnor
- Jeremy Zawondy
- JJProjects, by John Guy Johnston
- Karmanaut by Viveka
- Kirinyan by Clara Tse
- Klara Systems
- Leigh Dodds
- Liss is More, by Casey Liss
- Marian Call
- Matt Mullenweg
- Matchstick Cats
- Michael Dexter
- Michael Tsai
- Michael Warren Lucas
- Mitch Mitchell
- Mr Brown
- Mitakuye Oyasin
- Obsolete29, by Mike
- Oliver Mussell
- Rainer’s Ramblings
- Roasted World, by Auvik Pal
- Rob Howard
- Roman Zolotarev
- Sashin Exists
- Solène Rapenne
- Shaun Lorrain
- Vadim Brodski
- Valty’s Notes
- Yourumichii by Julie
- Yuki’s Notes
- Adrian’s Digital Basement
- Cody’s Lab
- Coffee Shop Ambience
- Corridor Crew
- Dan Benjamin
- David Frankal
- The Engineering Mindset
- Geoff Marshall
- The Great Big Move
- How To Cook That, with Ann Reardon
- Jan Beta
- MIT OpenCourseWare
- NHK WORLD-JAPAN
- Practical Engineering
- Real Engineering
- Stand-up Maths
- The Tim Traveller
- Technology Connections
- Technology Connextras
- Tom Nicholas
- OG Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon
- Fate/Stay Night: UBW
- Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
- Gurren Lagann
- Isekai Izakaya: Koto Aitheria no Izakaya Nobu
- Kanata no Astra
- Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai
- SKET Dance
- Suzumiya Haruhi
- Uchuu Senkan Yamato franchise
- Urusei Yatsura
Home Hi-Fi (work in progress!)
- Cassette Deck: Yamaha KX-380, Dolby C
- Graphic Equaliser: Pioneer GR-777
- Laserdisc Player: Kenwood LVD-290, NTSC/PAL, AC-3
- Turntable: Technics SL-J300R, linear-tracking quartz-locked
Charities I respect and donate to
Tech projects and foundations
rocket, the FreeBSD workstation: My personal desktop, built into a 1998 Compaq Presario case I always wanted as a kid, on account of it resembling a little rocket. All refurb parts built to a budget, but FreeBSD with KDE screams.
Dell S2722QC 4K monitor, Core i5-6500 4C, Gigabyte GA-H170N-WiFi board, Crucial 16 GiB DDR4-2133, Sandisk Extreme II 480 GiB (x2 in OpenZFS mirror), Asus GeForce GTX 970, Corsair 450 W 80+ Gold SFX PSU
MacTheKnifeII, the 16-inch MacBook Pro: My primary work machine, and portable powerhouse for travel.
16-inch 3072×1920 HiDPI display, 16 GiB memory, 512 GiB SSD. Runs macOS 11.2 Big Sur with oksh, Homebrew, and pkgsrc.
lum, the Panasonic CF-RZ6 Let’s Note: My daily carry and on-call machine, named for the character from 1980s cult classic Urusei Yatsura. Bought during AsiaBSDCon 2019 in Akihabara.
10.1-inch 1920×1200 HiDPI display (yay!), 8 GiB LPDDR3 memory, 256 GiB eMMC SSD. Runs FreeBSD 13 with oksh.
holo, the FreeBSD server: Clara’s and my homelab in an Antec 300 case. Serves files, ssh, Minecraft, and Plex. Her
Xenbhyve VMs and jails are named for Hololive characters.
Supermicro X11SAE-M with a Xeon E3-1275 v6, 16 GiB ECC PC4-19200U, some beautiful Noctua fans, hard drives in OpenZFS mirrors. Host runs FreeBSD 13, guests also run NetBSD and Debian.
Current nostalgia fleet!
ami, the Pentium MMX tower: My first computer I built as a kid in Singapore; refurbished and with parts from the family 486. Named for my favourite Sailor Moon heroine.
Octec Rhino 12+ board, 200 MHz Pentium MMX, 64 MiB SDRAM, 2× 32 GiB CF cards with IDE adaptors, Creative Infra 48 CD-ROM, Panasonic 5.25-inch disk drive, Samsung 3.5-inch disk drive, internal Iomega Zip 100 MiB SCSI drive, Iomega Jaz Jet SCSI accelerator card, SoundBlaster 32 ISA card, Compex ReadyLINK 10BaseT Ethernet, Nvidia Riva TNT2 PCI. Runs Windows 95, NT 4.0, and BeOS (work in progress).
aino, the Commodore 128: The ultimate 8-bit machine, donated by Josh Nunn of The Geekorium!
MOS 8502 and Zilog Z80 CPUs, 128 KiB memory, MOS 8563 VDC (80 column) and VIC-II E (40 column) with external upscalers, Commodore 1571 5.25-inch disk drive. Runs BASIC 7.0, GEOS, BASIC 2.0 (in Commodore 64 mode), and CP/M. I mostly live in Desterm128.
mio, the Toshiba Libretto 70CT: My dream computer as a kid, bought from eBay as an adult. Named for the shy bassist from K-On!
850 g, 6.1-inch 640×480 display, 120 MHz Pentium MMX, 32 MiB SD-RAM, 64 GiB CF card with IDE adaptor, Xircom CreditCard Ethernet PCMCIA.
Essential *nix tools
- ag, fast grep alternative
- ansible, easiest orchestration system, despite YAML
- aria2, parallel file and torrent downloader
- checkbashisms, to verify script portability
- colordiff, nice syntax highlighting for diff
- colorls, for colourised listings in NetBSD
- colorize, nice syntax highlighting for logs
- dcfldd, more robust dd with progress output
- ddrescue, data and disk recovery
- debian-goodies, niceties for Debian (surprise!)
- lsof, list open files, not to be typo’d as lzop
- lzop, fast compression for temporary file transfers
- mas, shell interface to the macOS app store
- mosh, interactive SSH replacement for high-latency connections
- ncftp, because FTP does still exist!
- oksh, Portable OpenBSD KornShell, my preferred shell
- p7zip, for extracting 7zip files Windows people send me
- plzip for parallel compression with safe integrity checks
- qemu-utils, disk image conversion from the legendary emulator
- rsync, still the best data transfer tool
- sshfs, quick and dirty remote disk mounts
- sudo, auditable super user interface
- tree, display directories as trees, DOS style
- yt-dlp, video archiver for YouTube, Nicovideo, etc
Extremely useful tools
- Alfred (macOS), command interface, text completion, calculator...!
- dupeGuru, for quickly finding duplicate files
- Ferdi, keep Electron garbage in one place, and quit in one go!
- Firefox, as critical now as during the first monoculture days!
- KeePassXC, excellent password manager
- LibreOffice, office suite I use daily for everything
- mpv, minimalist and complete video player
- OrionVM BaaS, backup tool with client-side crypto
- Tenacity, fork of the Audacity audio editor
- Thunderbird, still preferred for news, RSS, and mail
- macOS for desktops, going back to the original iMac DV. Unfortunately, it’s still the best system for running work software.
FreeBSD for servers, and my ultraportable for when on call. It doesn’t over-engineer new wheels or chase the shiny. It’s stable, fast, has excellent documentation, the industry’s best ZFS integration, and mature tooling. You can rebuild the kernel and world so easily, and it has a reasonable init system.
NetBSD for small projects and retro hardware. It was my first BSD, and I harbour a soft spot for it.
Debian for workloads that require Linux. I used to use CentOS given my background in Fedora and RH, but Debian and apt just work, and benefits from Ubuntu’s mindshare.
DOS, Windows 3.11 for Workgroups, and Windows 95, because I’m a nostalgic masochist!
- Alpine, email client
- Amfora, a pretty Gemini client
- htop, nicer top, especially useful for visualising CPUs
- links, no-frills web browser
- musikcube, music player and library
- nnn, fast terminal file manager
- sc-im, spreadsheet for quick calcs
- TestDisk, partition analyser and recovery tool
- tmux, tiled “window” manager you can detach
Useful Emacs plugins
Useful Firefox plugins
Useful Vim plugins
Writing, blogging, podcasting
- docbook, still the standard for online technical docs
- exiftool, reads EXIF data from images
- eyeD3, for batch processing ID3 tags in MP3s
- ffmpeg4, video processing Swiss Army Kife
- go-hugo, fastest static site generator
- ImageMagick, image processing Swiss Army Knife
- jpegoptim, lossless [sic] JPEG image optimiser
- mkdocs, web documentation generator from Markdown
- normalize, normalise, incorrectly spelled, across audio files
- Pandoc, universal document converter
- pngcrush, lossless PNG optimiser
- svgcleaner, correct, minify SVG images
- tesseract, simple to use image OCR
- wn, the WordNet lexical database of English
- youtube-dl, download videos from YouTube, Vimeo, etc
☕️ Mmm, coffee!
Cibo Espresso: Best chance of good coffee from a chain. I used to sit at their shop in Rundle Mall to read.
The Boatdeck Cafe: Much of this site in the mid-2000s was written from this place. They don’t do the Betty Blue Sea of Espresso any more, but still the best coffee and service in northern Adelaide!
Penny University Coffee Roasters: I came for the name, and stayed for the coffee. I’d had some awful, burnt stuff earlier that day, and the cup from here was a slice of heaven.
Candies Cafe: A bohemian little corner store, run by friendly people. Their takeaway cold drip comes in an adorable little glass jar with lid, and saved me from summer heat in more ways than one.
San Francisco Coffee: The best chain coffee in the city and surrounds. I basically lived in their KLCC outlet for a year!
% Arabica: So good, they’re listed here twice! Arashiyama is the most beautiful place in the world, and the most serene I’ve ever felt. Sitting at the edge of those waterfalls and the wooden Togetsu-kyo bridge at this coffee shop in winter with Clara was just about the best experience of my life.
Blue Bottle: We stumbled across a branch of the Californian roaster while wandering. They refurbished a traditional-style Japanese wooden building with all their modern gear, but kept so much of its original charm. The coffee was exquisite, though be prepared to wait a while, it’s shockingly popular!
Maeda Coffee (前田珈琲): Excellent service, and your choice of filter single origin or their amazing house blend. They don’t do espresso. They have a few branches, but definitely go to the one near Kiyomizu-dera, it’s jaw-droppingly beautiful.
MOS Cafe: The coffee isn’t anything special, but the decor and atmosphere are beautiful, and it’s great for light Western breakfasts and to chill when you miss the taste of home.
Cafe Demitasse: Great coffee with a focus on sustainability and ethically-sourced beans.
For Five Coffee Roasters: Best coffee in midtown, and I loved their space!
L’imprimerie: Beautiful little hole-in-the-wall down from the L/M Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues subway in Brooklyn. Best coffee in New York, and the people are super friendly.
Pret a Manger: Yes I know it’s a chain, but the staff at their Bryant Park branch were all so lovely, and their oats got me through jetlag!
CAFE BREAK ~To The Forest~: Coffee was decent, but the atmosphere was amazing. Such a welcome reprieve from excessive walking and exploring on a summer’s day.
DEAN & DELUCA: Some of the best coffee in Osaka. You can tell how much pride they have in their craft by how meticulously polished and clean their equipment is kept. We found it entirely by accident after taking the Nozomi Shinkansen.
Blue Bottle: You have to visit their original store in Oakland, but all their branches deliver exceptional brews. They also have a branch in Kyoto!
Cafe Réveille: Beautiful high ceilings and decor match the great coffee and friendly staff in Mission Bay. If you get there early enough, you can watch them roasting in-store.
SPRO Coffeelab: A cute food truck coffee shop with friendly staff and amazing brews. Ask them to choose for you :).
% Arabica: Best coffee I’ve had in Japan, and now they have a branch in the Lion City that’s just as good. Get an iced brew coffee without milk or sugar; you won’t need them :).
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: Including in this list because the South-East Asian franchises are better than the parent company in California! I got through my high school exams thanks to sitting at their branches having Americanos, so I feel I owe them some love here.
Toastbox: The most accessible way to get a traditional Singaporean breakfast and coffee. It’s the #1 thing I miss living back in Australia. ♡
Yahava Coffee Works: A deceptively-small terrace house that opens out to a long coffee shop and roastery. Lovely coffee and tea.
Sydney and surrounds 🏡
Apothecary Coffee: Best coffee on the North Shore and Chatswood, and the closest to our apartment. Their batch brew is mellow, light, fruity, and delicious.
Boatshed: Favourite coffee on the Central Coast in Tea Gardens, when I go up to visit my dad. Set right on the water, so the ducks and swans can visit you while you have your long black or espresso.
Cassiopeia: Cute little roastery and coffee shop tucked away on the street leading to the main nature reserves in the Blue Mountains. Clara and I use it as a base when we’re escaping Sydney for some relaxation.
Coffee Alchemy: Best coffee in Australia. You sit on wooden church pews a metre or two away from the industrial roasting machines. There are no cakes or snacks, just coffee. The smells, sounds, sights and tastes make this entirely unique and special.
Devon Café: Japanese fusion cuisine and unreasonably-good coffee. Their original branch was in Surry Hills, but Clara and I love their North Sydney location the best.
Industry Beans: The chain from Melbourne that looks vaguely like a Californian Blue Bottle, and tastes just as good!
L’Expresso House: Best coffee in the Sydney CBD, down the road from the world-famous Harry’s Café de Wheels. I may or may not use it as a second-base to work from instead of the office nearby cough.
Coffee Sakan Shu (珈琲茶館 集): Down a small flight in Toshima is one of the most opulent, classy coffee shops Clara and I have ever been to! She thought the waiters were cute in their butler outfits. I might have agreed, but was too busy enjoying the beautiful coffee.
🌏 Travel… remember THAT?
- 🇦🇺 Canberra
- 🇺🇸 San Francisco, San Jose, (etc!)
Didn’t leave airport!
- 🇱🇰 Colombo
- 🇦🇺 Darwin
- 🇺🇸 Dallas-Fort Worth
- 🇦🇪 Dubai
- 🇳🇿 Auckland
- 🇮🇩 Bali
- 🇹🇭 Bangkok
- 🇮🇩 Batam
- 🇬🇧 Belfast
- 🇦🇺 Barossa Valley
- 🇦🇺 Cairns
- 🏴 Cardiff
- 🇹🇭 Chiang Mai
- 🇦🇺 Coffs Harbour
- 🇮🇪 Cork
- 🇮🇪 County Kerry
- 🇦🇺 Dubbo
- 🇦🇺 Dyers Crossing
- 🇮🇪 Dublin
- 🏴 Edinburgh
- 🇩🇪 Frankfurt am Main
- 🇩🇪 Füssen
- 🇲🇾 Fraser’s Hill
- 🇦🇺 Hahndorf
- 🇦🇺 Hay
- 🇭🇰 Hong Kong
- 🏴 Inverness
- 🇲🇾 Johor Bahru
- 🇯🇵 Kyōto
- 🇦🇺 Lithgow
- 🇮🇩 Lombok
- 🏴 London
- 🇺🇸 Los Angeles
- 🏴 Manchester
- 🇲🇾 Melaka
- 🇦🇺 Mildura
- 🇦🇺 Mount Gambier
- 🇩🇪 Munich
- 🇺🇸 New York
- 🇦🇺 Noosa
- 🇺🇸 Nutley
- 🇯🇵 Odawara
- 🇯🇵 Ōsaka
- 🇫🇷 Paris
- 🇦🇺 Perth
- 🇺🇸 Philadelphia
- 🇨🇿 Plzeň
- 🇩🇪 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- 🇯🇵 Tōkyō
- 🇦🇹 Austria
- 🇨🇦 Canada
- 🇱🇻 Latvia
- 🇳🇴 Norway
- 🇸🇮 Slovenia
- 🇰🇷 South Korea
- 🇹🇼 Taiwan
- 🇻🇳 Vietnam
Things the world could use more of
Things the world could use less of
- Ball-kicking sports